Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Definitions of Suspense

Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead up to a big event or dramatic moment, with tension being a primary emotion felt as part of the situation. In the kind of suspense described by film director Alfred Hitchcock, an audience experiences suspense when they expect something bad to happen and have (or believe they have) a superior perspective on events in the drama's hierarchy of knowledge, yet they are powerless to intervene to prevent it from happening. In broader definitions of suspense, this emotion arises when someone is aware of his lack of knowledge about the development of a meaningful event; thus, suspense is a combination of anticipation and uncertainty dealing with the obscurity of the future. In terms of narrative expectations, it may be contrasted with mystery or curiosity and surprise. Suspense could however be some small event in a person's life, such as a child anticipating an answer to a request they've made, e.g., "May I get the kitty?". Therefore, suspense comes in many different sizes, big and small.

Suspense in Jaws:

Within the film Jaws, a number of micro features are used in order to create suspense, these features consist of; mise en scene, sound, editing and camera.

The scene is set on a beach filled with people laughing and having fun which gives the audiance a sense of secuirity, relaxation and reasurance, editing is quite fast although it is not threatening or intemidating.
Music is not introduced until there is the suspition that a shark is in the water.
Camera movements are intially quite slow although when people on the beach see a fin in the water, music increases in pace and intensifies and movement becomes faster.

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